Sunday, December 1, 2013

New Beers from the Japanese Majors in 2013: Kirin / 日本の大手企業からの新しいビール 2013: Kirin

One more month left to go until 2014. It's time to look around and take stock of new beers brought out in 2013 by the four major breweries in Japan: Asahi, Kirin, Sapporo, and Suntory. I'll discuss them each in a separate post. I'll also give the style, alcohol by volume, and the current RateBeer weighted average score followed by my rating score (out of a possible 5), keeping in mind that most of them have fewer than ten ratings. 

This time we'll check out the rather limited range of new brews from Kirin. 

Kirin Grand Kirin The Aroma
Grand Kirin The Aroma     
(Golden Ale/Blonde Ale 5.5%)     2.98 / 3.4
A new version of Grand Kirin (which debuted last year). It has a deep raw greeny fresh hop aroma, a bit sulfur-like, penetrating and curiously pleasant. Initial flavors are severely hop dominated. In mid palate, some tang and then sweet malt emerges. A light coating of bitterness remains in the final along with tiny sweet notes at the end. Thin to medium body. The initial aroma hit is substantial, but the nose soon grows accustomed to it. Interesting use of Bravo (if that is, in fact, what was used); it's a high-alpha acid bittering hop, whose main contribution here is in the aroma. Also, ale yeast is employed instead of lager yeast. Very pleasant stuff, a notch above the regular Grand Kirin. Never had quite so hop-dominated a brew like this from any Japanese major brewery. 

Kirin Koi Aji Deluxe
Kirin Koi Aji Deluxe     
(Strong Pale Lager/Imperial Pils - Happoshu 6%)     2.51 / 1.5
The happoshu has an aroma of light prunes, ashes, tsukemono. Flavors of harsh cardboard, a bit of rust, rotten veggies, and some metallic note, too. Ouch! Medium body. Pretty bad. Really pretty bad. But just a bit stronger than most pretty bad ones.
Kirin Koi Aji Toushitsu Zero
Kirin Koi Aji Toushitsu Zero     
(Low Alcohol - Third Category 3%)     2.36 / 1.8
This beer has 60% less purine than the regular version and only 19 calories per 100ml. Good for those with gout and weight problems. No much good for anyone else. It has a rusty rainwater nose, with some molasses notes. Slight sugary initial, along with some unidentifiable (but probably malt extract or spirits) chemical flavors , light extract tea, nearly no finish, except a coating of light sugar and some fizz. Thin-medium body. Pretty bad. One of the more taste-free brews you can drink (... or not drink).

  Kirin Sumikiri
Kirin Sumikiri     
(Pale Lager 5%)     2.32 / 1.9
This silver bullet contains a bad-ass cardboard and sewer pipe nose. A thin papery initial with some overripe lemons emerging soon after. Finish is fairly small. Thin body. The bad aroma doesn’t really influence the flavors so much. But still.... pretty bad stuff.


  1. I like Japanese sake. When I come back to my hometown, I drink sake with my father.
    But, of course, I drink beer!
    Grand Kirin The Aroma looks good! I will try it before the end of the year ;)

    1. I know a lot of people who like sake, but it's never really been my drink. Grand Kirin The Aroma might be a bit shocking (lots of hops) the first time you try it.